There are a lot of misconceptions about how to remember, memorizing, and how your brain changes as you age. I’d like to take this opportunity to address a few of them.

Question: Does being forgetful mean there is something wrong with you, or you are developing dementia or ‘losing your mind’?

Answer: Absolutely NOT! We all forget things from time to time – it’s normal. We live in the ‘information age’, where we are bombarded with tons and tons of stuff. We have to have a mechanism within our brain that is able to take the junk and dump it, and keep what is important. If we didn’t we would go crazy!

Question: If I was born with a finite amount of brain cells, and I lose 10,000 brain cells every day, does that mean I will eventually run out of brain cells?

Answer: Although some brain cells die out from not being used, or from disease, injury or age-related withering, we are constantly producing new brain cells. Some parts of the brain do lose nerve cells, but not where the process of thinking takes place. New neuro-connections are being made in the areas of the brain you use to replace older ones or simple to add to the ones you already have. It’s possible to grow new ones or maintain the connections you have by exercising your mind with brain games, or by getting exercise and eating foods rich in omega3 fish oils, red fruits and green vegetables.


Question: Do people who have musical talents have better memories?

Answer: People with musical talents do use more of both sides of their brain – to read the music; listen and interpret the melody; and to play the instrument – than most other people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do the same thing by developing both sides of your brain. Just as people are different, our interests develop in different areas, and our brains expand in the areas we are most active. Therefore, a mathematician uses a larger portion of his left hemisphere than a person who does athletics, and vise versa. In other words, your brain develops more in the area you use the most. For that reason is it advisable to try to balance your brain by developing hobbies and brain exercises that utilize another part of your brain in order to build up the connections there as well.


Question: How would speed-reading help me? I don’t need to read faster.

Answer: Speed reading does not just help you to read faster, it help you to comprehend what you read better, and with that you are able to improve your memory. Speed-reading is not just a way to get through a book quickly, it’s a way to learn how to develop your brain to pay attention, focus and develop in order to remember the key points. If you are simply reading a book for enjoyment, speed-reading is not necessary. If, however, you needed to read a large amount of pages in a short time, and remember as much as you can about what you read, speed-reading is extremely beneficial.


Question: I can’t take tests. I’ve tried and tried, and no matter what I do, and how much I study, I can’t pass a test. It’s cost me a couple jobs, and lowered my grades. Do I just have a mental block, or a bad memory?

Answer: Many people who say they can’t take a test do have a mental block – but it’s self created. They have convinced themselves they can’t take a test, so they can’t. Often being able to do something is simply a matter of ‘mind over matter.” If you think you can, you will; if you think you can’t, you won’t.  Actually, there may be a number of reasons why you aren’t able to take a test – stress, poor listening skills, lack of understanding of the subject matter, and so on. It wouldn’t hurt to learn some memory techniques and take a speed reading course that will help you to loosen up and focus. Taking a test is not must about memorizing material, it’s about maintaining focus, understanding the material, and being confident in yourself.


Better Health Channel – Dementia and Memory Loss: